Charlie Stross has a 21st Century FAQ which tells people to forget about space colonization and the Singularity.
99.999% of the human species who will never get off the planet are concerned. There’ll probably be a Mars expedition too. But barring fundamental biomedical breakthroughs, or physics/engineering breakthroughs that play hell with the laws of physics as currently understood, canned monkeys aren’t going to Jupiter any time soon, never mind colonizing the universe.
He talks about taking 2.5 years to get out to Jupiter. He talks about concerns about radiation exposure and other medical issues for long flights at near zero gravity. He talks about the difficulty in protecting people in space in small space craft
Orion Lets You Go Fast and Big
The abandoned technology that can be used is nuclear powered Orion. Orion configurations can deliver 1000Gs of acceleration. So then it is a matter of dialing back the performance to what the current capabilities that are available for handling acceleration.
Orion scales up to 8 million ton ships.
We know we can send people into interplanetary space for several days (Apollo). We could easily make the trip to Mars in days and then onto to Jupiter in days. We could bring supplies, radiation protection in cargo that is equivalent to several great pyramids or how many loaded aircraft carriers equivalents.
It will be too bad if we did not develop this capability until for some reason we had screwed up the Earth by not using workable technology because of irrational fears.
All it takes if for people to awaken to the fact that Orion can be safe or to develop a near-earth (moon or orbital) deployment or construction or to develop a political correct version of nuclear rocket (IEC fusion space propulsion).
This site analyzes past underground nuclear tests and geology and nuclear energy to kinetic energy to show how the one shot launch will work while containing fallout and not creating an EMP. Shows how leveraging existing geology and existing nuclear weapons and old research and tests shows how this can provide a multi-trillion jump start to the space age.
This article goes over a one shot variant of nuclear propulsion where all of the fallout can be contained.
For the technology singularity, nanotechnology is developing at a rapid pace and cognitive enhancement via advanced brain computer interfaces is rapidly developing. Carbon nanotubes can interface to neurons and nanoparticles can wirelessly activate neurons. Carbon nanotubes are rapidly being developed into complex electronics and computers. Working neuroprostethics (brain enhancement modules) appear no more than two decades away and could even be here in 3-5 years and the computers that are interfaced could have have exaflops or zettaflops or more in 5-10 years.
The early clinical application will be to help people with brain damage like long term memory.
The non-clinical side is carrying around more powerful wearable computers with reality overlay displays and sensors for environment and communication with the wearer. Plus some other non-invasive connections.
Brain scale synaptic networks and other methods of human brain emulation are rapidly advancing.
Physical enhancement is already here with military exoskeletons.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.